Five Things to Know about California’s New Health Ed Framework for Schools

By Abby Hamblin, San Diego Union Tribune - Rep: May 20, 2019

A new health education framework approved this month by the California State Board of Education offers guidance on sex education that the board’s president says reflects how “life has become more exponentially more complex.”

The “2019 Health Education Curriculum Framework for California Public Schools” was approved on May 8 despite what the Sacramento Bee described as “large protests.” The California Department of Education says the framework – which is optional for school districts – is “designed to make classrooms more inclusive and help students access the knowledge and skills necessary to grow into healthy adults.”

“Life has become exponentially more complex in the last few decades,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the state board and of the Learning Policy Institute...

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Nine Strategies for Getting More Students to Talk

By Rosie Reid, co-winner of 2019 California Teacher of the Year - Rep: May 7, 2019

While it is possible to learn by listening, I’ve found that oral participation leads to greater gains in student literacy and engagement. English language learners in particular benefit from ample talk time, but they are not the only ones.

Yet I’ve also found that without careful planning, a few students do most of the talking while the majority of the class remains silent. My students all have ideas, but only some of them share those ideas on a regular basis. Adding wait time after I ask a question helps more students get into the conversation, but still the more confident students are more likely to raise their hands...

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Researchers Develop Interventions to Reduce Disparities in School Discipline, Improve Students’ Relationships with Their Teachers

By Melissa De Witte - April 19, 2019

Brief exercises that address middle school students’ worries about belonging can help black and Latino boys develop better relationships with teachers and sharply reduce their risk of receiving discipline citations years into the future, Stanford University psychologists find.

Their research, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that guided exercises in two or more 25-minute class sessions early in sixth or seventh grade reduced teacher reports of discipline issues – such as for disrespect, defiance or insubordination – among black and Latino boys by 57 percent over two years in one study. In a second study, the reduction for black boys was 65 percent from sixth grade through 12th grade...

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Helping Students Overcome Test Anxiety

By Youki Terada - April 4, 2019

A rapid heartbeat. Sweaty palms. Clouded thoughts. For many students, the biggest obstacle to passing a test isn’t what they know, but the anxiety they feel.

Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on a student’s ability to concentrate on tests, leading to poor performance and, ultimately, fewer opportunities to succeed in school. A new study highlights an effective solution: Guide students to view stress differently—as a boost instead of a burden. Simple 10-minute writing exercises given just before a test helped students see stress as “a beneficial and energizing force” that could help them...

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Anti-Semitic Fliers Posted at High School Following Backlash Over Nazi Salute at Student Party

By Hannah Fry, Los Angeles Times - March 23, 2019

Anti-Semitic fliers with Nazi symbols were posted around Newport Harbor High School (in Orange County) over the weekend of March 9-10, roughly a week after a viral photo showed students posed in a Nazi salute while gathered around a swastika formed by disposable red plastic beer cups during a house party.

Police received a call from school officials Sunday reporting that at least 10 fliers, each 8 by 11 inches — some bearing swastikas — had been put up around the Newport Beach campus. Authorities think the fliers were plastered around the campus late Saturday or early Sunday. Police are investigating...

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The Math All Around Us

A Math Teacher Considers How to Make Real-World Connections During Field Trips, Projects

By Alessandra King - March 23, 2019

The math team at my school never lets an activity or event — from morning assemblies to field trips — pass without highlighting important or interesting mathematical connections. Few if any of these events were intended to serve the math curriculum, but we find ways to make it work.

Morning assemblies, for example, can be a good time for a continuing program of quick creativity boosters. There are many possible themes: Important Historical Problems and Their Current Applications, Logic Puzzles and Riddles, and Counterintuitive Problems...

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Researchers Find Disproportionate Assignments

Low-Income Students Encounter a Special Education Mismatch

By Grace Tatter - March 9, 2019

Low-income students are disproportionately assigned to special education, according to a new report from the Century Foundation by researchers from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and SRI International. 

Experts and educators have long documented how students of color are disproportionately sent to special education to their detriment, isolated in classrooms with teachers who have less expertise in important subject-matter material like math, English, and science. Last summer, the Trump administration delayed regulations the Obama administration had proposed to curb discriminatory special education assignments, stating that “racial disparities in the identification, placement, or discipline of children with disabilities are not necessarily evidence of, or primarily caused by, discrimination.” Rather than reflecting racial discrimination, they said, an overrepresentation of students of color in special education can be chalked up to higher need for those services, or because special education placement is correlated with poverty. They did not suggest that this correlation in itself could be due to discrimination...

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A Valuable but Difficult-to-Master Skill

Teaching Students to Paraphrase

By Jennifer Davis Bowman - March 9, 2019

When discussing text in the classroom, it’s tough for students to shift from utilizing an author’s words (copying) to accepting the challenge to express that author’s idea in their own words (paraphrasing).

But teaching effective paraphrasing is necessary because the use of paraphrasing facilitates important literacy skills: It encourages repeated reading, develops note-taking habits as students track quotes and outline text details, and expands vocabulary as they consider appropriate ways to describe the original text. The skill may seem daunting to students because it takes time to find the appropriate words to reshape a sentence, but that is time well spent...

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Study: Homework Is Too Focused on Rote Learning

February 24, 2019

On February 13, the Center for American Progress released a new report that takes a first-of-its-kind look at homework assignment quality. Specifically, the study examines how homework v assignment align with Common Core State Standards, and whether they require students to demonstrate the full depth of knowledge required of the content standards. In reviewing a snapshot of homework samples collected using Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), the authors of the report find:

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“The Biggest Lesson of My First Year Teaching”

Veteran Teacher Shares How She Learned the Value of Prioritizing Relationships

By Cindy Bourdo - February 24, 2019

“Overwhelming” is the word that best describes my first year of teaching. I wasn’t prepared for the multitude of things on my plate. I didn’t have a handle on classroom management, and I left each day feeling exhausted and defeated.

My time was spent learning new curriculum, developing personalized learning techniques, modifying lessons, and analyzing data. I knew this was important work, but I also knew that something was not working. I felt a disconnect in my classroom and knew I could do better.

I looked around and saw that there were some teachers who seemed to just take everything in stride and really enjoyed what they were doing. Their classrooms ran smoothly, and their students looked happy. To figure out what they were doing that set them apart, I made an effort to study three teachers during my first year...

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Is It Time to Rethink the Way We Do School?

Bringing the Science of Learning Into Classrooms

By Heather Riley and Youki Terada - February 9, 2019

New research sheds light on the effects that childhood experiences - both good and bad - have on the developing brain. But are schools keeping up?

“The 20th-century education system was never designed with the knowledge of the developing brain,” says Pamela Cantor, MD, who is part of a cross-disciplinary team of experts studying the science of learning and development. “So when we think about the fact that learning is a brain function and we have an education system that didn’t have access to this critical knowledge, the question becomes: Do we have the will to create an education system that’s informed by it?”

Contrary to the long-held belief that brain maturation is largely complete by the age of 6, we now know that our brains are malleable and continue to change dramatically well into our 20s. This has profound implications for learning throughout the school-age years...

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SBE Approves New K-12 California Arts Standards

February 9, 2019

On February 4, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond praised the recent adoption of new California Arts standards by the State Board of Education, stating it is a critical step in enhancing creativity in students and preparing students for California’s  “creative economy.” The last update to the state’s arts standards was in 2001.

“This was long overdue. Creativity and appreciation for the arts is important for all students to have a well-rounded education, exposing them to new ideas and perspectives. Arts education boosts school attendance, academic achievement, and college attendance rates; improves school climate; and promotes higher self-esteem and social-emotional development.” Thurmond said. “In addition, proficiency in the technology related to creative work is becoming an important skill for students as they progress into college and career.”...

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